NEW YORK CITY – April 25, 2006 – During National Infant Immunization Week, parents and caregivers are reminded that immunizations protect children against serious, vaccine-preventable illnesses. In 2004, 77% percent of New York City children ages 19-35 months received basic, recommended immunizations, up from 69% the previous year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Immunization Survey. Vaccination rates were slightly higher than the national rate of 76%. New York City has high immunization rates in most areas, but the South Bronx, Harlem, and North and Central Brooklyn still have lower rates than the rest of the City.
"Every child should get critical immunizations before age 2 to help them stay healthy," said New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) Commissioner Dr. Thomas R. Frieden. "Diseases such as mumps and measles, as well as other serious illnesses can be prevented with vaccination. About 40 years ago, there were over 200,000 mumps cases each year in the U.S. With vaccination, there were 230 cases in 2003.These shots are simple, safe, and effective. Talk to your child’s doctor or call 311 today to find out what shots your child needs and where you can get them."
Children need several different shots before their second birthday to prevent illnesses including measles, mumps, rubella, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hib meningitis, hepatitis B, varicella (chicken pox), and pneumococcal disease. Infants should receive their first dose of hepatitis B vaccine at birth. They should then receive others vaccines from a medical provider at 2, 4, 6, 12 and 15 months in order to be fully immunized against these diseases. These immunizations are required for daycare and school entry.
"Because most children receive these recommended vaccinations, we rarely see most vaccine preventable diseases in New York City," said Dr. Jane R. Zucker, Assistant Commissioner for Immunization. "However, outbreaks can occur, as we are seeing in the Midwest with mumps. Vaccination provides the best and most effective protection against mumps and other illnesses. We urge parents to get their kids vaccinated on time."
Free or low cost immunizations are available, regardless of immigration status or insurance coverage. It is never too late to be vaccinated against these diseases; if you are an adult who has not received these shots, talk to your doctor or call 311 and ask for information about immunization clinics. DOHMH will host several events during National Infant Immunization Week to promote childhood vaccination, please visit http://www.nyc.gov/health/calendar.
DOHMH promotes ongoing community immunization efforts year-round. The City aims to have 90% of children ages 19-35 months vaccinated by 2010. Services include:
- Four Immunization Walk-In Clinics provide immunizations to individuals 4 years of age and above
- The Vaccines for Children Program (VFC), a federally funded program that provides free vaccines to physicians who vaccinate children under 19 years of age who are uninsured, underinsured, or enrolled in Medicaid
- The Citywide Immunization Registry (CIR), a database that tracks the immunization history of each child under 18 years of age in New York City for providers and parents
- The Immunization Action Plan (IAP), a long-term collaborative effort to promote immunizations among pre-schoolers through public education and community partnerships
Get the Immunizations You Need – A Take Care New York Priority
Getting immunized is a top priority of Take Care New York, the City's health policy. Infants and children, adolescents, adults, and older people need regular immunizations to stay healthy.
Call 311 for more information about immunizations or to find an immunization clinic, or visit DOHMH's website at http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/imm/imm1.shtml.
For more information about National Infant Immunization Week, visit CDC's website at http://www.cdc.gov/nip/events/niiw.